An Introduction to Google Analytics

An Introduction to Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a web analytics service provided by Google. It is used to track the user actions on the website to learn about visitors. The data collected includes: how the user found the website (the source), how much time the user is spending on each page, active web sessions, bounce rate, etc. In addition, Google Analytics helps organizations obtain meta data from their visitors, including geographical location, age, gender etc.

 

Installation

 

Google Analytics is a free service, but you must have a Google account to access the platform. Once created, you can use your Google login credentials you can log in to the website and create your own analytics account. This platform is capable of manae multiple websites with a single analytics account. When we configure a website for tracking, Google provides a tracking code along with the JavaScript code snippet. Simply copy the tracking code and imbed into each website page to be tracked. Moving forward, Google Analytics will begin to record user sessions and behavior. To track specific activities like button clicks and link clicks, custom logic should be added to trigger an “event” (i.e. clicking on the Call To Action button), which Google logs with respect to whenever the trigger is initiated.

 

Why Google Analytics is Useful

 
Google analytics is designed to collect large amounts of data from each user session on your web-page. Perhaps the most challenging part of using this platform occurs when attempting to interpret the reports and deduce the appropriate course of action; leveraging the data to drive growth and increase profits. Google Analytic’s useful data visualization reports displays the collected data in different formats. The data can then be filtered, customized, and segmented based on particular date ranges or other desired variables.

 

Reports in Google Analytics are divided into 5 sections:

 

  1. Real-Time
  2. Audience
  3. Acquisition
  4. Behavior
  5. Conversions

 

Let us explore one in brief:

 

Real-Time

 
These reports allows us to monitor user actions on our website. We can view the number of visitors viewing our website, page-by-page, their geo graphical location, and/or what specific keywords they used within their web search that lead them to our page.
 
Real time reports will help organizations to take quick actions. For instance, when a particular product or page is seeing high traffic, then the home page can be customized to meet this demand, adding promotional details and location-based coupons, for example.
 

Audience

 
The visualization reports provide deep insights into various user characteristics, including, but not limited to: Number of website visitors/active users over a period of time, user location, age, gender, user behavior, interests and devices.
 

 
Understanding user behavior and interests will help organizations to design better websites. User age, gender and geo-location will help businesses learn how to actively engage in “target marketing,” by learning about the demographics, behavioral tendencies, and user trends on their website.
 

Acquisition

 
These reports help identify the origin of the user visiting the website. These details will help the organizations to figure out where to advertise, allocate investments, while learning to reduce or eliminate unfavorable content so as to improve the sales.
 

 

Behavior

 
User behavior includes the number of users who viewed a page, the number of sessions, how the users are interacting with the website, bounce rate, landing pages, exit pages and etc. Behavior reports also provide page load speed at individual page level. An “experimental” section provides reports indicating which experiment is generating high revenue.
 

 

Conversions

 
Google analytics allows organizations to setup goals for the website. These goals could range anywhere from a successful new-user registration to a user issuing payment for a subscription.  As such, organizations can gauge their success in meeting their targeted goals.

 

Conversion reports display how the website is performing with respect to the goals described above. This is helpful in making important business decisions to achieve the goal for particular time.

 

The reports described above are fully-customizable, and can be broken down into subsections to get the most relevant data supporting your goals.

 

What is Google Tag Manager (GTM)?

 
Often, Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager (GTM) are thought of as one and the same application. However, each is mutually exclusive, developed for different purposes. GTM is another Google service, used as a central, one-stop-shop in managing multiple tags (Google Analytics, Google Ads, Conversion Links, etc) through a single platform.

 

GTM is a useful tool, especially in the instance of integrating a website with Google Analytics, where challenges such as:

  • Managing environment-specific tracking code in source code
  • Making code changes for tracking purpose in the application code
  • Making quick changes to the tagging items when the product is already in production

 

Typically, these challenges are present when multiple tags are used throughout a website. GTM is the solution to these challenges, with the ability to can fix all the above problems. In GTM, we can create and manage multiple tags for a website. If we integrate Google Analytics with GTM, we can add a new event to track without modifying the source code and we can easily publish the change to production without any developer effort or new release. We can even completely disable or remove a tag with GTM.

 

Installation of GTM is as simple as Google Analytics. When we create a GTM account with the valid Gmail id, we will get the JavaScript code snippet which can be pasted in a common file for use in all pages or individually.
 

 
Google Tag Manager currently supports more than 50 tags. For every tag, GTM provides configuration properties and trigger events. Once configured, GTM appropriates the generated code throughout the website.

 

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